Author Topic: "Slavery" in Ancient Egypt  (Read 7543 times)

Offline michaelintp

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"Slavery" in Ancient Egypt
« on: January 04, 2015, 11:57:36 am »
Here is an analysis that struck me as interesting, and I think some of you, and particularly APEXABYSS, may be interested as well.  Thought it worth sharing. I particularly thought of APEXABYSS because of his past comments regarding "slavery" not existing in ancient Egypt.  APEXABYSS, these observations, though perhaps not entirely identical to yours, touch on this issue, and support the view that the Egyptian "slavery" (at least as applied to the ancient Hebrews) may have been more a form of serfdom, not slavery in the sense of chattel slavery. It focuses on an analysis of the proper translation of the Hebrew text used in the Bible.

TAXATION IS A FORM OF SLAVERY AND THE MISTRANSLATION OF EXODUS 1:11:

"The Stone Edition" Tanach mistranslates a word in Exodus 1:11: "So they appointed taskmasters over it [Israel] to afflict it with their burdens, it built storage cities for Pharaoh, Pithom and Ramses." Grammatically correct, but "taskmasters"? The source of this mistranslation is actually the King James Bible, which likewise reads, "Therefore they did set over them TASKMASTERS to afflict them with their burdens." The verse in Hebrew actually states the Egyptians appointed שרי מסים, 'sarei misim'. What does that literally mean? The translation of that phrase is literally "tax officers."

In fact, Rashi (1040-1105) confirms the meaning of the phrase in question stating it comes from "the language 'tax,' officers that would collect from them a tax. And what was the tax? That they build storehouse cities for Pharaoh." Virtually every commentator translates those words based on the Hebrew as tax ministers.

Why mistranslate the verse? Well, the phrase "tax masters" gives one a different view of the enslavement in Egypt than "taskmasters." "Taskmasters" evokes the image of American chattel slavery and its antecedents. However, not every form of slavery in world history followed that framework. The slavery of Egypt may have come in the form of oppressive mandates, or a sort of serfdom. "And they made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field; in all their service, wherein they made them serve with harshness." (Ex. 1:14). The Egyptians would tax the Jewish people in the sense of demanding excessive amounts of bricks or mortars, excessive grain delivery, or as Rashi says, demands that they build storehouses. How they went about delivering it may have not been an Egyptian concern, other than to impose excessive and oppressive demands with the sword of the kingdom as enforcement. In fact, in Gen. 47 Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, provided seeds to the farmers, and demanded a fifth be provided back to the kingdom. In this time of famine, knowing the arrangement saved them from starvation, they declared, "we shall be serfs (עבדים) to Pharaoh." "Serfs" is an English translation for the same word in Hebrew for "slaves." It would then seem that Israel was likewise turned into serfs to the new Pharoah.

Ramban (1194-1270) notices the phrase "tax officers," and must be bothered by the idea of the slavery coming in the form of taxation, because he comments on the verse: "They placed a tax on the nation to take from them men for the service of the king, and they appointed Egyptians to take according to their will in proportion to the work." He views the "taxation" part of the verse as a prefatory clause that precedes the operative clause that speaks of "building storehouses." He therefore is essentially translating it thusly: "Conscription officers."

There are two lessons to be learned: Taxation is a form of slavery. “The collection of any taxes which are not absolutely required, which do not beyond reasonable doubt contribute to the public welfare, is only a species of legalized larceny,” Calvin Coolidge declared in his first inaugural address. It is not a coincidence that the Israelite slavery is introduced, as accurately translated, with the appointment by the evil Pharaoh of "tax officers." Further, the slavery in Egypt may have taken the form of conscription into hard labor, or perhaps may have constituted a form of highly oppressive serfdom. Either way, the translation "taskmasters" misdirects the meaning of the verse and is an obvious mistranslation.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2015, 08:58:11 pm by michaelintp »
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

APEXABYSS

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Re: "Slavery" in Ancient Egypt
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2015, 11:10:06 pm »
Thanks for the shout-out, michaelintp. Much appreciated, my bredren!

The truth hurts. Man, it hurts. A higher & greater truth is the reward. Well, here comes the pain.

quick story of Joseph, in kemet... he tells (the mysterious) pharaoh about the 7 years of plentiful harvest, followed by 7 years of famine. Pharaoh makes Joseph ruler of Egypt. They always blame pharaoh, when Joseph was named, "The Father Of The Pharaoh." (meaning- Josesph was in-charge & called the shots.)
genesis 47= The (kemites) Egyptians buy the grain with $$$$. When the $ runs-out, they sell the live-stock, land & eventually sell themselves into a life of (slavery) servitude. Joseph moves the Canaanites into the best parts of kemet (Goshen) & the kemites move into the city= this is the first documented case of "gentrification."
 
Here's the million dollar question. Where did all the grain the kemites were buying come from? answer= it came from the kemites.
Joseph sold the people their own crops, back to them. Not only did he sell what was rightfully already theirs, but he made desperate, starving people sell all of their possessions- even their own freedom. The kemites became servants to the (Hebrew/ Israelites) Canaanites. The Canaanites (Joseph’s people & family) moved into Egypt & owned all the wealth, livestock & land in kemet. Basically, Joseph & the Hebrews were the first to enslave the Egyptians. Joseph exploited the people during a famine. legalized larceny?

Here's the billion dollar question. If you were Joseph, would you have done the same thing?
example: let's jus say, for argument sake, you tell me to save some $$$ for a "rainy-day." I agree & give you my $$$ to hold for me. When that rainy-day comes, I have to give you my car, house & be your personal assistant, to get my own $$$ back. I can see paying a percentage, like the thread topic states. But to give all I have for something that’s technically mine? How can such an act be considered honorable, in the eyes of god?

There are two lessons to be learned: Taxation is a form of slavery. “The collection of any taxes which are not absolutely required, which do not beyond reasonable doubt contribute to the public welfare, is only a species of legalized larceny,” Calvin Coolidge declared in his first inaugural address. It is not a coincidence that the Israelite slavery is introduced, as accurately translated, with the appointment by the evil Pharaoh of "tax officers." Further, the slavery in Egypt may have taken the form of conscription into hard labor, or perhaps may have constituted a form of highly oppressive serfdom. Either way, the translation "taskmasters" misdirects the meaning of the verse and is an obvious mistranslation.

Here's the trillion dollar question. If you were "the new pharaoh"(Ramses? hhmmm?) would you be angry with the Canaanites? Would you seek some sort of revenge or punishment?
I don't agree with what the pharaoh did to the Canaanites, but I can understand his reasoning. I would've jus let them go. The bible says in exodus 9:12= but the lord hardened pharaoh’s heart... the pharaoh did not harden his own heart- god did.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2015, 07:34:42 am by APEXABYSS »

Offline michaelintp

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Re: "Slavery" in Ancient Egypt
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2015, 06:51:47 pm »
Apexabyss, interesting perspective from the Egyptian point if view.

I believe, though, that Joseph ruled under Pharaoh. However, Pharaoh delegated full authority to Joseph, after Joseph interpreted Pharaoh's dreams and recommended a plan of action for the predicted seven years of plenty and seven years of famine.  Absent that plan it is likely that more if not all of the grain would have been consumed during the seven years of plenty.

Joseph still, from time to time, consulted Pharaoh and obtained permission from Pharaoh before taking certain actions, such as settling his family in Goshen (after they arrived in the midst of the famine).

What I find interesting is the extent to which taxation and indebtedness to Government was used by the Egyptian Government, initially in its consolidation of power and "enslavement" of the masses, and later in the "enslavement" of the Hebrews. Perhaps, as you suggest, because the Egyptian masses resented the fact that the Sons of Yisrael, Joseph's family, residing in Goshen, were exempted from the hardships after Joseph was granted permission to settle them there. Of course, the Egyptian Priestly Class was also treated favorably (as described below).

Slavery? In prior posts you've suggested that Ancient Egypt didn't have slavery. While I'm not sure of that, what does seem clear is that classic chattel slavery is not described (or may not be described, depending on one's interpretation) in the Biblical text. More akin to servitude. The "enslavement" of the Hebrews through taxation is already described above. One interesting side-point, is that there is a Midrash that when the new Pharaoh came to power, the Hebrews were the first to volunteer, to show they were good citizens, to aid in the building projects.  Pharaoh even demonstrated by symbolically taking the first shovel. 

Of course, from the perspective of the Hebrews, things went badly quickly, as the actual "clever" plan of Pharaoh was to destroy the Hebrew population.  As stated in Parsha Shemoth (Exodus, Chapter 1, verses 8-12), "Now a new king rose up over Mitzrayim, who knew nothing of Yosef. And he said to his people, 'Lo! the sons of Yisrael are a nation, too numerous and too might for us. Come: let us deal cleverly with them, lest they multiply, and then if, in the course of events, there should be a war, they will join our enemies, or fight against us themselves, and move up from their land.  They set treasury officials over them in order to afflict them with their burdens.  And so they built storage cities, Pithom and Ramses."

As to the Egyptians:

Looking at the Biblical text, in Parsha Miketz (Genesis Chapter 41, Verses 34-36), we see Joseph recommending a plan to Pharaoh, that was "good in Pharaoh's eyes."  During the seven years of plenty, the Egyptian Government would impose a tax of one-fifth.  As a result, the Government would accumulate and store sufficient grain to sell during the seven years of famine. These taxed amounts of grain belonged, however, not to the Egyptian "people," but rather to the Government.  During the years of famine, the Government sold the grain (bread) at retail prices to the people (rather than larger lots at wholesale prices to speculators). Had the famine lasted less than predicted by Joseph, that would have been the end of the story. The famine, however, did continue as predicted. When the money ran out, the people returned to the Government, and Pharaoh referred them to Joseph. Joseph stated he would provide for the livestock for one year (creating indebtedness). The famine continued throughout the year, and the livestock (collateral for the debt) was forfeited to the Government. The people returned to the Government for bread, and sold themselves and their land to the Government in exchange for bread to avoid starvation. People were then moved en masse from one place to another, so they would not reside where their former land was located.  That was the mechanism by which the Egyptians were "enslaved" by the State.  All this is described in Parsha Vayiggash (Genesis Chapter 47, verses 15-21).  Only the Egyptian Priestly class was exempt.  The State did not confiscate their land, and the priests were provided a stipend by the State (verse 22).

The mechanism by which this was done was not by outright theft in the sense I believe you mean the term, Apexabyss, except to the extent taxation can itself be viewed as a form of theft. Pharaohs had the power to tax the population. In this sense, it can be distinguished from Communist Regimes, that literally confiscated all capitalists' property by fiat. Rather, it was a prolonged process over the seven years of famine.  Had the famine ended sooner than predicted, the consequences would not have unfolded as they did. The end result was the same, however, as under Communism. All means of production and distribution were transferred to the State. Power was consolidated in the State.

Do I still find this to be problematic?  Of course I do. The Egyptian Dynasties were not constitutional republics.  Nor were any of the monarchies of that era.  Power was vested in the State and the Priesthood.  The way in which the Egyptian Government consolidated its power, under the direction of Joseph, is instructive, though.  Because it actually describes the mechanism by which agricultural populations may have "voluntarily" relinquished their freedom to a Central Dynastic State.  Initially through taxation and indebtedness created in times of hardship. 

Of course, once all power is vested in the State, compulsion is sure to follow.

This, I believe, is the lesson that is most relevant to our times.
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

APEXABYSS

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Re: "Slavery" in Ancient Egypt
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2015, 12:49:01 am »
Wonderful insight. I couldn’t have said it better myself. No, really, I couldn’t. The lessons I was taught & researched about slavery in Egypt were a bit sensationalized. Still true tho.

Anyway, any topic dealing with slavery should be candid, raw & un-cut. F the B.S.! I don’t really support “diet“-slavery dialogues. I'll always take the gloves off on this subject.

Alrighty then, I only stated that kemites did not have or need a slave economy. America was built with slave-labor. Egypt had a service industry & prisoners of war. 


Yes, the Egyptian priests were exempt. The priesthood in kemet went beyond giving inspirational sermons. The priests also had to study & master several languages, writings, architecture, alchemy, mathematics, medicine, economics, art, astrology, surgery, agriculture & it goes on & on, etcetera, etcetera. They were the best of the best. That’s why “reverend pork-chop” & this modern-day ministry is a joke. I think the Pope can speak a few languages, so props to that, but uh... yeh, uh...

Joseph & his actions, leadership-role & motivations are questionable. Mostly, because they sold the grain to other nations, including Canaan. Why sell your reserves to outsiders? Surely Egypt didn’t need the income more than they needed to maintain their supply of goods, in case the famine lasted longer. They didn’t sell the grain to other nations as a charitable gesture. They could’ve shown that same offering to its own citizens. 

Of course, the new pharaoh didn’t understand how the wealthiest people in Egypt were not Egyptian. The Hebrews did not really support the culture, in terms of social, political & spiritual ideologies. Even, Joseph’s father did not want to be buried in Egypt. After the exodus, the Hebrews built a statue of the golden-calf “Asteroth” (satan‘s daughter), as opposed to honoring the Egyptian-calf “Hathor”. Which shows that they did not fully embrace the kemetic religious practices. The new pharaoh couldn’t understand how former “goat-herders” were now the leaders of such an intellectually advanced society. The Hebrews did not possess the same level of skills, training, education, world-view & understanding as the kemites. How could M.Fs that lived in colorful tents build pyramids? It's kinda like the Ethiopian jews (my heritage) in Israel. The betas are refugees. At least they share the same religion & blood-ties. When have you ever heard of refugees controlling the state? Seems odd in any interpretation.

I could really go deep into detail, but I jus wanted to highlight some of the points you addressed. Again, your views are tastefully broken-down for a pill that may be tough to swallow. Thanks again
 
« Last Edit: January 27, 2015, 07:34:01 am by APEXABYSS »

Offline Battle

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Re: "Slavery" in Ancient Egypt
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2015, 03:50:34 am »
Of course, the new pharaoh didn’t understand how the wealthiest people in Egypt were not Egyptian. The Hebrews did not really support the culture, in terms of social, political & spiritual ideologies. Even, Joseph’s father did not want to be buried in Egypt. After the exodus, the Hebrews built a statue of the golden-calf “Asteroth” (satan‘s daughter), as opposed to honoring the Egyptian-calf “Hathor”. Which shows that they did not fully embrace the kemetic religious practices. The new pharaoh couldn’t understand how former “goat-herders” were now the leaders of such an intellectually advanced society. The Hebrews did not possess the same level of skills, training, education, world-view & understanding as the kemites. How could M.Fs that lived in colorful tents build pyramids? It's kinda like the Ethiopian jews (my heritage) in Israel. The betas are refugees. At least they share the same religion & blood-ties. When have you ever heard of refugees controlling the state? Seems odd in any interpretation.

I could really go deep into detail, but I jus wanted to highlight some of the points you addressed. Again, your views are tastefully broken-down for a pill that may be tough to swallow. Thanks again






Fascinating.

Your suspicion is as perceptive as mine.

Please, continue.

Offline michaelintp

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Re: "Slavery" in Ancient Egypt
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2015, 11:35:27 pm »
I disagree that there is anything is suspect in Dynastic Egypt, the superpower of the era, selling grain to surrounding nations during the years of famine.  Doing so no doubt enhanced Egypt's power and influence worldwide.  Pharaoh, counseled by Joseph, was prudently willing to "gamble" that accumulating grain during the years of plenty would pay off during subsequent years of famine.  He didn't view it truly as a "gamble" as he was impressed with Joseph's interpretative abilities and believed what Joseph said would take place.  Thus, unlike all nations surrounding Egypt, the Government of Egypt imposed the one-fifth tax and accumulated large stockpiles of grain.  The Egyptian government benefitted in three ways:  First, by consolidating power domestically (as we've discussed above).  Second, by magnifying its influence and power geopolitically, by wielding the power of sustenance over surrounding nations. Third, by selling the grain and enriching its treasury as a result.  There is therefore nothing suspicious on the representative of Pharaoh taking these actions. Indeed, failure to do so might be seen as a betrayal of Pharaoh and the Egyptian Dynasty.

Had Joseph been "mistaken" and had the famine lasted a short time, Pharaoh would likely have at a minimum sent him back to the prison, and more likely would have executed him.

As to the egotism of the Egypt of that era, I agree with you that some of the masses and the priesthood held the family of Joseph in low regard.  First, because shepherds had low social status.  Second, because the Egyptians failed to realize that the reason the ancient Jews pursued this profession was to enable them to commune with God in greater solitude while caring for their flock.  The Egyptians failed to appreciate the power and sophistication of the monotheistic faith of the Sons of Yisroel (Jacob). The Egyptians viewed their culture as superior to all others, and were generally viewed in their era to represent the apex of civilization.

As an aside, speaking the 70 languages of the world was a qualification for the members of the Sanhedrin as well.

For more information on the Golden Calf, a good general discussion can be found in:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_calf

According to the Hebrew Bible, the golden calf (עֵגֶּל הַזָהָב ‘ēggel hazâhâv) was an idol (a cult image) made by Aaron to satisfy the Israelites during Moses' absence, when he went up to Mount Sinai. In Hebrew, the incident is known as ḥēṭ’ ha‘ēggel (חֵטְא הַעֵגֶּל) or "The Sin of the Calf". It is first mentioned in Exodus 32:4

The traditional Jewish explanation is that most of the Jews in the desert miscalculated when Moses was to return from Mount Sinai. They believed that Moses had died.  They therefore sought another intermediary between themselves and God, and very wrongly built the golden calf for that purpose.

One of the interpretations in the "Criticism and Interpretation" section of the Wikipedia treatment provides an explanation that is consistent:  "According to Michael Coogan, it seems that the golden calf was not an idol for another god, and thus a false god." 

Apexabyss, some of what you write suggests to me that you've been exposed to writings from persons of other religious traditions (or biases) who interpret these events (and possibly others) through the lens of their own perspective (or prejudice).  I don't know, but would not be surprised, if some of these authors wish to paint Jews in a negative light.  I know you are a good and fair person, so I don't believe this is coming from you personally.  For example, the talk of "Satan" in the way you are using the term is decidedly antithetical to Jewish theology.  In the Jewish faith, "the Satan" is the prosecuting angel, not some demon or fallen angel or enemy of God.  Like all angels, the Satan does the bidding of God. The Satan is the one who points the finger at our wrongdoing, who actively presents us with moral challenges, and urges Divine Wrath as our just recompense for falling short.  Thus, suggesting that the Jews were worshipping anything connected with "Satan" as some demigod is antithetical to the Jewish Faith, and to the monotheism advocated by the Patriarchs and Moses. However, such a claim sounds very much like what some writer from some other religious tradition might say who wished to demonize Jews and Jewish History. I'm only raising this to ask you if this might be the case, and for you to think about.

Finally, I believe it is noteworthy that the Biblical text contains a great deal of self-criticism  (even directed to some of the greatest figures in the Jewish faith).  This is one of the strongest arguments to suggest that it is indeed a Holy Book, not reflecting some "religion" concocted by man.  Because, were one to go about inventing or founding a religion, you would be inclined to paint yourself in an entirely favorable light. This self-criticism reflects a certain humility. I personally find it admirable.
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

APEXABYSS

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Re: "Slavery" in Ancient Egypt
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2015, 07:39:49 am »
Again, you’ve said it better than me. I already admitted my views are some-what sensationalized. I honor my family & our heritage in every way. My “nana” hoped I would carry on the tradition & continue the faith, because my mother shunned her father & my immigrant great-grand-parents & their beliefs. It happens. Kids don’t always accept their parents religions. I grew up in a religious tug-o-war ( Islam, Judaism & Christianity). So, yes, bias was a part of that experience. 

Anyway, the children of Israel did not fully understand who or what the golden-calf represented. I’m not saying they purposely worshipped Satan.  I’m saying they still chose the golden-calf over Hathor. Most people don’t fully understand the religion they give their lives to.

Of course, the kemites (at times) were victims of their own power & arrogance. It’s no different than some New Yorkers claiming the “big apple” is the greatest city in the U.S. (some say, on earth). Is it? NY is in the north-east part of the country & is probably one of the most diverse cities ever. All the Ivy league schools are in the north-east. Something about the region- who knows?  Kemet is in north-east Africa & was the NYC/ Ivy league of  the time. So, yeah, some of the Egyptians viewed everyone else including the Hebrews in a subordinate way. It is what it is!

Giving grain to other nations- I got no problem with that. The problem is the grain belonged to the Egyptian people & they did not benefit from the foreign sales. 

Again, I'm jus keeping it real. I’m not taking sides. I’m on the side of the truth. This doesn’t mean I’m on some runaway/ renegade slave ish. It means they can’t sell me some BS, because I’m not buying it. Taxation as a form of slavery or servitude, yeh, I get it, you’re right. Still, the Hebrews or Joseph may not have been as innocent as we’ve been taught. And the kemites or pharaoh  may not have been as evil as taught, but definitely arrogant.

Anyway, any topic dealing with slavery should be candid, raw & un-cut. F the B.S.! I don’t really support “diet“-slavery dialogues. I'll always take the gloves off on this subject.

“I am America. I am the part you won't recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.”

-- Muhammad Ali
« Last Edit: January 27, 2015, 08:00:12 am by APEXABYSS »

Offline Battle

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Re: "Slavery" in Ancient Egypt
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2015, 08:30:26 am »
Still, the Hebrews or Joseph may not have been as innocent as we’ve been taught. And the kemites or pharaoh  may not have been as evil as taught, but definitely arrogant.




Oh, I know.  :)



Regarding the 'golden calf'...? 

Sounds like code for 'cash cow'. 

Does anyone know what is a 'cash cow' in marketese here in America?

Offline michaelintp

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Re: "Slavery" in Ancient Egypt
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2015, 07:39:29 pm »
Still, the Hebrews or Joseph may not have been as innocent as we’ve been taught. And the kemites or pharaoh  may not have been as evil as taught, but definitely arrogant.

Oh, I know.  :)
Regarding the 'golden calf'...? 
Sounds like code for 'cash cow'. 
Does anyone know what is a 'cash cow' in marketese here in America?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEhP650cp30
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline michaelintp

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Re: "Slavery" in Ancient Egypt
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2015, 11:07:30 pm »
Apexabyss, I enjoy talking with precisely because of your attitude and approach. You're a good guy, and discussions with you are fun.

I too am trying to evaluate things objectively. Which is why I'm reading the Biblical text the way I am.

I do believe that servitude can turn to slavery. At some point using one word over the other becomes a distinction without a difference. The policy of the "new" Pharaoh against the Jews, under the guise of a "tax" on labor, which became harsher and harsher, culminating in the attempted killing of all Jewish male babies, was in fact a plan to eradicate the Jews. According to the Biblical text, this was the plan from the outset.

What you are describing is the psychology of how Pharaoh "forgot" who Joseph was. Absent Joseph and his plan Egypt would have suffered a major calamity, massive starvation. In this sense the masses were also saved, but at a price. The Egyptian Government benefitted handsomely. But as you suggest, the Egyptian Priests (who were exempt from the tax and benefitted through state stipends) resented the Sons of Israel. Because Hebrew Monotheism stood in stark contrast to their polytheism, which they held in much higher regard. They also resented the fact that Joseph had bested them in his interpretations and devised and implemented the grain storage and sale plan.  As you say, they also resented the "special treatment" of Joseph's family - while of course not in the least bit objecting to their own special treatment, which they believed they were entitled to. Finally, they no doubt resented that the Jews refused to fully assimilate into the "superior" Egyptian Culture.  This is an attitude we have seen repeated era after era, culture after culture (though interestingly 4/5th of the Jews did assimilate, with only 1/5 leaving in the Exodus, according to one opinion). It was a power struggle, most definitely.

As to the masses, perhaps Pharaoh saw the writing on the wall. The people forgot how the State had saved them from starvation, while discontentedly rembering that they were forced (by reason of the famine and the government's actions) to sell their property, and themselves, to Pharaoh. I can just see some of the people resentfully muttering, "It was our grain that was taxed! What we paid for came from us!" So Pharaoh (who may or may not have been the same person who appointed Joseph), always operating with the best interests of the Dynasty in mind, deflected resentment to the Jews as an external threat. This too is a common theme that has repeated itself in future eras in different cultures.

Apexabyss, I think we need to be careful not to apply modern sensibilities to an era where absolute dynasties and monarchies were the norm. Joseph served Pharoah. What Joseph did benefitted Pharaoh. Obviously once in a position of authority, Joseph sought, in this ancient world, to protect and benefit his family as well. By settling them in the semi-autonomous Goshen region.

The fundamental point where we differ is that I do not believe that the grain once taxed and stored by the Egyptian Government belonged to "the people."  By modern democratic standards this is how we would like things to be. But that was not the standard of that time (and to a significant extent is a fiction in our time). The Egyptians were the subjects of Pharoah, not free citizens. The taxed grain was Pharaoh's to do with as he pleased. Plain and simple. We can look at this through modern eyes to describe what was happening, to avoid similar government abuse in our time. But we really can't judge the ancient protagonists of this drama by our modern standards of property rights (particularly given that such concepts have become significantly eroded even in our day). To do so would be unfair. And it is certainly unfair for modern antisemitic writers to seek to do so to vilify Jews today.

So too as to the "Satan Worship" charge in connection with the Golden Calf (which kind of came out if nowhere in this discussion, and which you've modified somewhat above). While some, including perhaps the Nation of Islam, may throw out such concepts, this is not a mainstream interpretation of the Sin of the Golden Calf. That's why I provided you with the Wikipedia link, that provides a pretty good discussion of the matter. And, in any event, this event is condemned in Jewish theology as a SIN.

All said, though, your interpretations of the events surrounding the famine, grain sales, and Goshen settlement of the Sons of Yisroel, are interesting in suggesting the Egyptian perspective. Fascinating, actually.  :)
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline michaelintp

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Re: "Slavery" in Ancient Egypt
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2015, 08:13:30 am »
Apexabyss, you said:
Quote
It's kinda like the Ethiopian jews (my heritage) in Israel.
,,, and then later you mention your Nana.

Was your maternal grandmother an Ethiopian Jew?

Just curious.

Because, if yes, you are of course Jewish.  Though from what you write it sounds like the Ethiopian Jews may be on your father's side. Traditionally, Jewish identity is determined by matrilineal descent (or conversion).

I think we may have discussed this before ... but my memory isn't clear - hahaha my normal condition  :P
« Last Edit: January 28, 2015, 09:21:04 am by michaelintp »
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

Offline Battle

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Re: "Slavery" in Ancient Egypt
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2015, 08:57:38 am »
Who is this information beneficial for here at HEF, besides the original post?

What does this information have to do with Black folks here at HEF?

Where can this information be monetize for HEF?

Why is this information useful inside a HEF category entitled, How Ya Livin'/Spirituality?

How is any of this information useful to anyone here at HEF, besides the original post?

Offline michaelintp

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Re: "Slavery" in Ancient Egypt
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2015, 10:55:22 am »
Who is this information beneficial for here at HEF, besides the original post?
What does this information have to do with Black folks here at HEF?
Where can this information be monetize for HEF?
Why is this information useful inside a HEF category entitled, How Ya Livin'/Spirituality?
How is any of this information useful to anyone here at HEF, besides the original post?


The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6

APEXABYSS

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Re: "Slavery" in Ancient Egypt
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2015, 12:03:49 pm »
See! Here we go! This is why I rarely expose personal information- on the subject of faith. It’s distracting. You had to know, I knew you were going to ask me that? I woulda bet $ you would utter... obligatory? You know, about maternal lineage? It’s all good!

Seriously, you missed the point of why I mentioned my families history & faith. I said it to illustrate my very-early introduction into the Hebrew doctrine. Yeah, yeah, we know. It’s like a sports-team with “starters” , the second & third string. LOL! Second class? Converted? Beta but not alpha! This too was part of the experience. Fun!

Here’s the deal, let’s try to stay on the thread topic. Scream! I’m not a big fan of the Hebrews, before they actually created the books of Moses and/or the extended doctrine. Sure, they were Hebrews, but the religion begins with the doctrine. I was exposed to it early. We can go back & forth on how I got it. Point is, I got it & on certain levels supported it, jus like those before me. No, I was not born with the Talmud. Or any other book. Or was I? Hhhmmm!

But, yeah, I start giving props at different eras of Judaism, like Solomon, David to Abraham & so on.

When the Rams first came to STL, I wasn’t really felling them. Now, I’m a die-hard Rams fan. Yes, still! Is this an acceptable behavior or attitude toward faith? More importantly, is it a ‘sin’ to pick & choose times of commitment (within the doctrine)? And cultural/spiritual appreciation, approval & attention? Like I said before, wasn’t a big fan early-on. Why? For me, it’s about their achievements before & after kemet. They may have maintained elements of the culture, while in Egypt... They still did not have a “so-called” established or solidified faith. Christians have the Bible. Muslims have the Quran. It’s their doctrine. Point is, every team has a play-book. Stick to the script. Right?

Egyptians followed a script, too. Maat- justice & balance. They were an ancient civilization by the time Joseph shows-up on the scene. Dynastic kemet already existed for thousands of years. How did they maintain that long? Not with slavery! Historically speaking, they turned to the interior of Africa & other African nations, kingdoms & dynasties. The famine was in the most northern part of Egypt, along the river Nile. The 4000+ mile river Nile. Egypt had ties with sub-nations up & down the Nile. On top, the allegiance with southern, central & even west African nations, like Timbuktu. Don’t even get me started on their over-seas adventures!

The “magi”, the kemetic Nubian military did not live in the capital. The soldiers lived in lower Egypt & south-central Africa. Like the U.S. Civil War- the north really did need the south & vice-versa. For support. Why would they break thousands of years of state protocol for Joseph’s dream? They woulda sought help inside not outside. 

Imagine if the 13 northern U.S. colonies had to aid the capital during a famine. Wouldn’t the capital lean on Maryland, South Carolina, Virginia... wouldn’t they have remained in constant trade & contact? Of course, they did. The Egyptians, I mean. They wouldn’t jus “ride it out“- “solo-dolo” or only turn to the northern regions (Asia) for aid. Basically, it's hard to fully accept the Exodus or the Hebrews time in kemet- as taxed servants battling maniac-pharaoh-baby-killers. The story doesn’t support the traditions of a long standing advanced ancient society. Like a Good neighbor... they already had insurance?

In Akhenaten’s reign, he outlawed war. Who outlaws wars, but thinks killing the first-borns is cool?

The golden-calf? Many ancient civilizations paid homage to a sacred cow. Try not to get too caught-up with the details on something they used as a 'pacifier'. It’s not that deep. The details, I mean. Only the moral of the story will stand. I guess?
 
Hey, you’re a stand-up guy in my “book!” Anyway! Thanks for the open-honest discussion, the civility & decency for harsh free-speech.  It’s why I look-up to & respect you guys  & gals on the HEF. All Class. Right-on!

I know the slave-tales kinda boils-down to faith. Do we believe the stories are true? Some of it I take as allegory. Jus sayin’! Again, you gotta catch me for the whole story of Judaism, not jus the rocky beginnings, in kemet. They kinda lose me there. I pick & choose, jus like I chose my position on the team. Ha! Shalom               


Offline michaelintp

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Re: "Slavery" in Ancient Egypt
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2015, 12:45:58 pm »
About our discussions ... I feel the same way.  ;D
The spirit of emptiness is immortal.
It is called the Great Mother
because it gives birth to Heaven and Earth.
It is like a vapor,
barely seen but always present.
Use it effortlessly.

Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6